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Category: Recipes

  1. Wednesday, April 25, 2018

    Lentil Rice Bowl with Lime-Tahini Dressing

    Today I have a recipe to share with you that is now my favorite. It’s a lentil rice bowl with lime-tahini dressing. That may or may not sound good to you, but no matter what you are thinking right now I promise you will like it. Well, okay, there may be someone out there not down for the lentil rice bowl but I kind of doubt it.

    Last week I had a photography job in Orange County. I needed to grab lunch on the road and noticed a place called CAVA. Now that I’m not eating wheat, dairy and sugar and my diet is still quite strict (waiting to get that allergy testing done!), eating out is tricky. CAVA looked like it could be promising so I decided to give it a try. I am so glad that I did, I love this restaurant!

    Recipe for Lentil Rice Bowl with Lime-Tahini Dressing from This Week for Dinner. Healthy and delicious!

    Heartbreakingly, we do not have a CAVA restaurant anywhere near my house. (Insert trombone.) I think the best way to describe CAVA is that it is essentially a Mediterranean-inspired Chipotle. You create a bowl, choosing your grains, greens, proteins, veggies, etc. While there were ingredients that did have wheat and dairy, there were plenty that did not. There was so much to choose from it made me happy! I ended up creating a lentil rice bowl with lime-tahini dressing and was, quite frankly, surprised how much I liked it.

    I had a bit of my bowl left over when I picked up Owen from school. He ended up stealing the rest of my lunch…I have never seen him inhale unidentified vegetables and grains that way! For the last week he has been begging me to recreate the bowl at home, so last night I gave it a go.

    Recipe for Lentil Rice Bowl with Lime-Tahini Dressing from This Week for Dinner, delicious and healthy dinner that makes great leftovers!

    This is my new favorite meal. It took some effort to get all the ingredients prepared, but the final dish was worth it. And now I have a fridge full of ingredients I can easily throw together for lunch or leftover dinner this week.

    Nutritious and delicious recipe for Lentil Rice Bowls with Lime-Tahini Dressing from This Week for DInner

    I did include leftover rotisserie chicken in our bowls to use it up, but you could easily leave the meat out and the bowl would be just as delicious…and completely plant based! Yay for delicious vegan food! (Update: the last time Nate and I ate this, we decided it really truly does not need chicken. This bowl is hearty and filling and delicious without meat.)

    Animated GIF showing how to create a Lentil Rice Bowl with Lime-Tahini Dressing from This Week for Dinner

    I am going to list below exactly how I built our bowls. Obviously you can mix and match ingredients or come up with your own creation. The CAVA menu provides some pretty great cooking inspiration, click here to check it out. (CAVA also has locations in 9 states as well as Washington D.C. If you live near one, I highly recommend it. Go and enjoy it for me!)

    Lentil Rice Bowl with Lime-Tahini Dressing
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • Brown Rice
    • Lentils (Green, Brown and/or Black)
    • Cooked chicken, bite-sized pieces (leave out to make this dish vegan)
    • Carrots, diced
    • Golden beets, diced
    • Cauliflower, bite-sized pieces
    • Super or Power Greens, chopped (I bought a mix from the grocery store produce section)
    • Broccoli Slaw (no dressing, again, I bought a mix from the grocery store produce section)
    • Hummus
    • Chimichurri sauce
    • 3 handfuls grape tomatoes, chopped
    • 1 cucumber, chopped
    • Olive oil
    • 3 limes
    • ⅓ cup tahini (stir well before using)
    • ⅓ cup water
    • 1 garlic clove, minced or pushed through a garlic press
    • ¾ teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    Instructions
    1. Combine the juice from 2½ limes, tahini, water, garlic, salt and sugar in a small bowl. Whisk well and set aside.
    2. Roast carrots, beets and cauliflower together in a 425º F oven for 15-20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Toss in olive oil and sprinkle with salt before roasting.
    3. Cook brown rice and lentils as directed on the package.
    4. Put tomatoes and cucumbers in a small bowl, drizzle with olive oil and squeeze the juice from the final ½ lime you haven't yet used. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat.
    5. In a bowl, layer the ingredients as follows: brown rice, lentils, chicken (if using), roasted vegetables, greens, slaw, spoonful of hummus, spoonful or two of chimichurri sauce, cucumber-tomato mixture. Drizzle generously with the tahnini dressing, mix all together and enjoy!
    6. Tip: I mixed and prepared all the individual ingredients in the containers that I would be storing them in the refrigerator in after dinner was done. It made clean-up much easier!

    OTHER RECIPES YOU MAY LIKE:

    EQUIPMENT I USED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:

     


  2. Sunday, April 22, 2018

    Urban Plates Chimichurri Sauce

    Hello. I need to share a quick recipe with you today. It’s for Urban Plates chimichurri sauce, which basically means I am totally copying a sauce I love from a restaurant called Urban plates. The Urban Plates chimichurri tastes especially delicious over steak or salmon, but it is so good you’ll probably want to pour it over all kinds of things (chicken? roasted vegetables? toasted baguette? YES to all!).

    Copycat recipe from the restaurant Urban Plates for their delicious Chimichurri Sauce by This Week for Dinner

    Less than a week after making my first batch of Urban Plates chimichurri I also made my new favorite meal Lentil Rice Bowls with Lime-Tahini Dressing. Holy smokes the chimichurri was good in that dish. Basically, you can pour the Urban Plates chimichurri over just about anything and be happy.

    So what is this Urban Plates and I keep speaking of? It is a a restaurant chain near where we live that is pretty much my favorite take-out place to eat. The food tastes homemade, there are tons of vegetables involved and the food is consistently delicious. Lately I’ve been ordering their baked salmon with a side of their chimichurri sauce…over and over again.

    Recipe for Chimichurri Sauce by This Week for Dinner as inspired by the restaurant Urban Plates

    The Urban Plates chimichurri sauce is divine. I dug around on the internet, found a blog post describing the ingredients in the sauce, then went to my kitchen to figure out the recipe. Happily I succeeded! I’ll still willingly go to Urban Plates where they can make the sauce for me, but I am relieved to know I can replicate this tasty sauce at home as well as share the recipe with those of you who live nowhere near an Urban Plates restaurant. Enjoy!

    Urban Plates Chimichurri Sauce
     
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    This recipe is a copycat of the Urban Plates chimichurri sauce I love so much! This sauce is wonderful served over steak or salmon but would be delicious drizzled over other savory foods, too!
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 2 cups fresh parsley (no need to chop it up at all)
    • 1 red bell pepper, cut into large pieces (originally this recipe said ½ of a pepper, but I have revised to 1 whole pepper because I like it better that way)
    • ½ of a red onion, cut into large pieces
    • 2 garlic cloves, removed from the paper and cut in half
    • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
    • ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • ½ teaspoon black pepper
    • ¼-1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    • ⅛-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    Instructions
    1. Place all ingredients in a food processor. Process on high for about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl about halfway through. Pulse until sauce has a uniform, medium-fine chunky consistency like you see in the photos. Serve over proteins like steak or salmon, vegetables or whatever suits your fancy!

    OTHER RECIPES YOU MAY LIKE:

    EQUIPMENT I USED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:

     


  3. Monday, April 2, 2018

    Gluten-Free Homemade Chocolate Granola Bars

    Recently I had to go super clean with my eating. There were a few weeks where I couldn’t eat any sugar, dairy or wheat. It ended up being easier than I thought it would be (no, really), but it has been nice to slowly add those ingredients back into my diet here and there. But now that I’ve made these positive changes to my diet, I would really like to maintain those changes. As a result, I’ve started looking at some of my favorite recipes and thinking about how I can modify them. One of the first recipes to go through a makeover was my beloved Chewy Chocolate Chip Homemade Granola Bar recipe. First I made the recipe gluten free and reduced the sugar by about 3 grams per bar. Then I took it a step further, which brings us to today’s recipe for homemade chocolate granola bars.

    How to Make Gluten-Free Homemade Chocolate Granola Bars from Jane Maynard of This Week for Dinner

    When I was working on reducing the amount of sugar in my original granola bar recipe, I was surprised by how much sugar was coming from the chocolate chips. I wanted to be able to take out the chocolate chips but still get a good chocolate fix. By removing the chocolate chips and adding cocoa powder to the granola bar, we still get that delicious chocolate flavor with even less sugar. I tried it and it totally worked.

    Recipe for Gluten-Free Homemade Chocolate Granola Bars by Jane Maynard of This Week for Dinner

    This recipe for homemade chocolate granola bars is awesome. My original recipe is a bit more chewy, but the texture on these chocolate bars is fantastic, a little chewy as well as a little crispy, and they don’t fall apart at all. The flavor is wonderful – I think I might even like these better than the original chocolate chip bars, which is really saying something. This recipe is gluten free and each bar contains about 8 grams of sugar, which is 5-6 grams less per bar than my original recipe. Woohoo!

    Gluten-Free Homemade Chocolate Granola Bar Recipe by Jane Maynard at This Week for Dinner

    Please note that if you do not need the bars to be gluten free, you can in fact use regular all-purpose flour as a substitute for the oat flour. But if you want to go gluten free, stick with the recipe below using oat flour.

    Without further ado I give you Homemade Chocolate Granola Bars!

    Homemade Chocolate Granola Bars (Gluten Free)
     
    Prep time
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    Author:
    Serves: 24
    Ingredients
    • 4 cups rolled old-fashioned oats (make sure label says gluten free)
    • 1 cup brown crisped rice cereal
    • ½ cup shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut
    • ⅓ cup brown sugar
    • 3 tablespoons oat flour (make sure label says gluten free)
    • ¼ cup cocoa powder
    • Generous ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • ¾ cup coconut oil
    • ½ cup honey
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 325º F.
    2. Combine oats, crisped rice, coconut, brown sugar, oat flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Mix well.
    3. Combine coconut oil, honey and vanilla. Whisk well. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. (Stir. Stir some more. Keep stirring!)
    4. Line a large cooke sheet with parchment paper. Pour granola bar mixture onto the lined cookie sheet. Press mixture out into a large, uniform rectangle, about 9" x 13" (which will be smaller than the pan, you do not push the granola all the way to the edges of the pan). It is easiest to form the rectangle if your hands are wet.
    5. Bake for 15 minutes, rotate pan and bake for 14-15 more minutes.
    6. Cool completely before cutting. Cut into 24 bars, 8 rows x 3 columns.
    Notes
    The coconut oil can be solid or liquid - whatever it happens to be sitting in your cupboard is fine!
    If you do not need these to be gluten free, regular all-purpose flour can be substituted for oat flour with the same measurement.

    OTHER RECIPES YOU MAY LIKE:

    EQUIPMENT I USED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:


  4. Chocolate Chip Gluten-Free Homemade Granola Bars

    One of the recipes I’m most proud of on this blog is the Chewy Chocolate Chip Homemade Granola Bar recipe. I love those granola bars and everyone I’ve ever shared them with loves them. I’ve tried different flavors, but we always come back to chocolate chips. The original recipe is best! However, for reasons I will describe below, I recently developed a recipe for gluten-free homemade granola bars based on that wonderful original recipe, which I will share with you today!

    Recipe for Gluten-Free Homemade Granola Bars with Chocolate Chips from This Week for Dinner

    Over the last few weeks I’ve had to clean up my eating and do some elimination diet stuff. (FUN TIMES!) The adjustments to my diet prompted me to modify my granola bar recipe in two ways: take out the wheat and reduce the amount of sugar. The recipe below is the gluten-free version of my original granola bar recipe and each bar contains about 3 grams less sugar than the original recipe, going from 13-14 grams added sugar per bar to about 11 grams.

    What the gluten-free homemade granola bars will look like when formed into shape on the pan

    This recipe tastes almost the same as the original, it’s just a little less chewy and a little more crispy. But not by much. I am perfectly happy with the modifications to this recipe and would use either recipe just as happily! Also, for those of you who do not need the bars to be gluten free, you can use all-purpose flour, which basically will make these a lower-sugar version of the original.

    I have created a second modified version of these bars that has even less sugar, Homemade Chocolate Granola Bars (click here to see the recipe). The chocolate granola bars have only about 8 grams of sugar per bar and they taste great! But if you are wanting chocolate chips, here is the recipe for Chocolate Chip Gluten-Free Homemade Granola Bars!

    Chocolate Chip Gluten-Free Homemade Granola Bars
     
    Prep time
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    Total time
     
    Author:
    Serves: 24
    Ingredients
    • 4 cups rolled old-fashioned oats (make sure label says gluten free)
    • 1 cup brown crisped rice cereal
    • ½ cup shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut
    • ⅓ cup oat flour (make sure label says gluten free)
    • ¼ cup brown sugar
    • 1 cup chocolate chips
    • Generous ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • ¾ cup coconut oil
    • ½ cup honey
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 325º F.
    2. Combine oats, crisped rice, coconut, oat flour, brown sugar, chocolate chips and salt. Mix well.
    3. Combine coconut oil, honey and vanilla. Whisk well. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. (Stir. Stir some more. Keep stirring!)
    4. Line a large cooke sheet with parchment paper. Pour granola bar mixture onto the lined cookie sheet. Press mixture out into a large, uniform rectangle, about 9" x 13" (which will be smaller than the pan, you are not pushing the granola all the way to the edges to fill the pan). It is easiest to form the rectangle if your hands are wet.
    5. Bake for 15 minutes, rotate pan and bake for 14-15 more minutes.
    6. Cool completely before cutting. Cut into 24 bars, 8 rows x 3 columns.
    Notes
    The coconut oil can be solid or liquid - whatever it happens to be sitting in your cupboard is fine!
    If you do not need these to be gluten free, regular all-purpose flour can be substituted for oat flour with the same measurement.

     


  5. Monday, March 19, 2018

    Thai Basil Beef with Coconut Brown Rice

    Ages ago when I kicked off my {now sorely-neglected} podcast, one of my first guests was Tracy Benjamin of the food blog Shutterbean. First off, Tracy is one of my favorite people and I love her episode, so go take a listen if you haven’t already! One of the recipes Tracy shared in that episode was for Thai Beef with Basil, a recipe her family loves that utilizes ground beef. I’ve had it on my to-try list ever since and last week it finally happened.

    Recipe for Thai Basil Beef with Carrot Slaw and Coconut Brown Rice

    The result? A really great go-to recipe that my kids devoured. All three of them said they want me to make it again and I am definitely planning to. I must admit that I wasn’t sure I was going to love this recipe – serving ground beef over rice just, I don’t know, didn’t capture my interest. Well, I’m glad I tried it anyway as I loved the recipe, too! The carrot slaw is key to why I love this dish so much. I also cooked the rice in coconut milk instead of water, which gave a nice, subtle flavor to the dish overall.

    Thai Basil Beef, an quick and delicious weeknight dinner option

    As is my M.O., I changed the recipe, both on purpose and on accident. I am writing my version up below, mostly so I don’t forget what I did but also so I can share it with you, in case you think my changes seem like a good idea. Enjoy!

    Update! This is one of our new favorite go-to meals. The last time I cooked this dish I made a discovery – it is awesome if you had a handful of greens to the bowl. This adds a nutritional punch and tastes awesome. I just put the rice and beef in the bowl, then topped it with greens and finished with the carrot slaw. The dressing from the carrots mixes in with the greens and it’s great. I just used prepackaged “power greens,” but any kind of darker greens will work well!

    Thai Basil Beef with Greens and Carrots

    Thai Basil Beef with Coconut Brown Rice
     
    Prep time
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    Adapted from Bon Appetit recipe, as discovered by friend Tracy Benjamin from Shutterbean. This dinner is easy to make and all three of my kids (all ages!) loved it!
    Author:
    Serves: Serves 4
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup short grain brown rice
    • 1¾ cup canned coconut milk (one 13-14-ounce can will work!)
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
    • 2 tablespoons chopped yellow onion
    • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced (remove seeds for less heat)
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 1 lb. ground beef
    • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
    • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
    • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • kosher salt
    • ½ cup beef stock (or ½ teaspoon beef bouillon + ½ cup hot water)
    • 3 cups fresh basil, cut into a chiffonade (measure basil before cutting)
    • 4 medium carrots, julienned
    • 2 scallions, thinly sliced (both white & green parts)
    • 1 lime, juiced
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • lime wedges for serving, if desired
    • leafy greens (for example "power greens" salad mix), optional
    Instructions
    1. Add rice, coconut milk and ½ teaspoon salt to a pot. Stir then bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, cover pot and reduce heat to low. Cook on low for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit with lid on for 10 additional minutes.
    2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion and jalapeño and cook until onions have softened and start to turn translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
    3. Add garlic, pressing it through a garlic press, to the pan. Stir then add ground beef. Break beef up, sprinkle evenly with kosher salt, then cook until no longer pink, breaking up the meat as it cooks.
    4. Add beef broth (or bouillon and water, if using) along with the ginger, cumin and cinnamon. Let simmer over low heat for 5-10 minutes, adding ⅔ of the basil a few minutes before serving. (Note: I removed about half of the jalapeño pieces before serving to reduce the heat for my kids.)
    5. In a mixing bowl combine juice from 1 lime, 2 teaspoons oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, carrots, green onion and the remaining ⅓ of the basil. Stir well to coat veggies in the dressing.
    6. Serve rice topped with beef and carrot slaw. Drizzle some of the dressing from the slaw bowl over the servings and enjoy! Optional: Add a handful of leafy greens to the bowl for extra nutrients and deliciousness!

    OTHER RECIPES YOU MAY LIKE:

    EQUIPMENT I USED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:

     


  6. Wednesday, March 7, 2018

    Sweet Ricotta Cream

    I can’t eat dairy right now (in the process of figuring out some allergy stuff). Therefore, I think the best way to torture myself is to share a recipe that is all about dairy.

    Sweet Ricotta Cream Recipe from @janemaynard, perfect served with fruit for a rich yet light dessert

    This sweet ricotta cream recipe is divine. The sweet ricotta cream is perfect paired with fruit, especially berries, peaches and the like. And while I am one who usually considers nothing to be dessert unless chocolate is involved, this ricotta cream served with fruit is definitely dessert enough for me. That is saying something.

    Sweet Ricotta Cream Recipe from @janemaynard, perfect served with fruit for a rich yet light dessert

    Now go and enjoy! And eat an extra bite for me!

    Sweet Ricotta Cream Recipe from @janemaynard, perfect served with fruit for a rich yet light dessert

    Ricotta Cream
     
    Prep time
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    Pair with your favorite fruit to create a rich yet light dessert that everyone will adore!
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 15 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
    • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
    • ¼ cup heavy cream
    • 6 tablespoons powdered sugar
    • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • Fresh fruit of your choice
    Instructions
    1. Using a spoon, mix together the ricotta, mascarpone, cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla well in a medium bowl. Some ricotta cheeses are firmer than others - adjust by adding additional cream if the mixture seems too thick.
    2. Pair with sliced or chopped fruit of your choice - berries are wonderful as well as fruits like mango and peaches. Layer the ricotta cream with fruit for a pretty parfait, or simply just scoop everything into a bowl willy nilly. Either way it will be delicious!

     


  7. Sunday, February 25, 2018

    Week 568 Weekly Menu…and my foray into “clean eating”

    Hey everyone! So, one week ago when I planned my weekly menu it was a regular old week. Except for a horrific rash on my face that had been bothering me for nearly two weeks, that is. I went to the doctor on Tuesday. She told me to essentially eat like a hunter gatherer for 1 week and that I absolutely could not eat sugar, dairy or wheat for the week. So, since Tuesday I have only eaten meats, beans, vegetables, fruits, eggs and brown rice. (I’m allowed to eat oats, too, but just haven’t yet.)

    If you know me at all, you know special diets are just not my thing. But I of course listened to the doctor and got on it stat. And I have good news, which is also bad news in my opinion because I love bread so much. This clean eating stuff actually worked. WHAT THE?! Here are my conclusions so far:

    • This way of eating not only has cleared up the rash (which was terrible, friends…terrible), but my skin overall has never looked this good. I have always struggled with acne, so this is saying something.
    • I have lost over 6 pounds already. I’m sure some of that was water retention, but every time I step on the scale the number is lower. Note: I am not actively trying to lose weight. Note #2: Don’t worry, I’m not wasting away or anything. 😉
    • Eating this way was easier than I thought it would be and the food I have been eating has been delicious.
    • Eating this way requires a lot more food prep. Which just takes a little more planning. But I am also using way more fruits and vegetables, which is fantastic. I took about 30-45 minutes on grocery shopping day to prep a bunch of raw veggies so they are waiting in the fridge for a snack or for cooking.
    • I AM ALSO BORED TO DEATH WITH FOOD. Really. Today the food boredom is really kicking in. This boredom is manifesting itself in two ways. First, I’m sick of thinking so hard about food. Second, I am just bored with the options. I wish I could eat more things.

    I meet again with the doctor in two days to go over test results and to discuss the diet changes and next steps, including reintroducing foods slowly. The reason I am telling you all of this is because this is a food blog and this has been a pretty significant development in my daily experience with food. I won’t write about it all the time, but it was just so fascinating to me that results came so quickly with this diet shift. Crazy stuff.

    Okay, so here is this week’s menu, which is one I should be able to enjoy if I have to continue with the food restrictions beyond this Tuesday.

    Week 568 Weekly Dinner Menu

    MONDAY:
    Carnitas Rice Bowls

    TUESDAY:
    – Boozy Beef Stew

    WEDNESDAY:
    Stefania’s Braised Chicken

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    – Grilled Chicken with Salad

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out night

    SUNDAY:
    Roasted Veggie Scrambles

    Your turn! Share your dinner plans for the week in the comments below! (And any clean eating wisdom…I’ll take it!)


  8. Wednesday, January 31, 2018

    Happy 11th Birthday, Blog! Blended Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies to Celebrate!

    Today is This Week for Dinner‘s 11th birthday! How is that even possible? ELEVEN YEARS. Pretty soon my blog will be a teenager, which means I need to enjoy these last moments before it starts talking back and asking for a phone and stuff.

    Blended Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from @janemaynard

    I pretty much celebrate every blog birthday with chocolate. Last night I remembered a cookie recipe from my pre-blog days that my mother-in-law Pat gave to me. I decided to pull out my old recipe box, dig through the cards and find it. I made the cookies and everyone in the family loved them. The main difference with this recipe is that you blend the oatmeal before adding it to the dough, giving the cookies the flavor of oatmeal with a different texture than what you’re used to with oatmeal cookies, a texture that we all love.

    Blended Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from @janemaynard

    And, yes, I am sharing yet another chocolate chip cookie recipe. I know, I know, how many versions can one blog hold? Apparently a lot.

    You may notice from the photos that I used Guittard’s chocolate wafers as opposed to chips. Wafers or chips both work fabulously in this recipe, but I do love the layered effect that the wafers give to the final cookie. However, if you don’t have chocolate wafers on hand, good ol’ fashioned chocolate chips are just as delicious!

    Blended Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from @janemaynard

    Happy birthday, Blog! And happy baking, everyone!

    Blended Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
     
    Prep time
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    Modified from a very old Mrs. Fields' recipe that my mother-in-law shared with me many moons ago. I have altered the recipe in several ways, but the oatmeal trick definitely came from Mrs. Fields!
    Author:
    Serves: 4 dozen
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 cup light brown sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
    • 2½ cups rolled oats
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 12-18 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips or wafers (12 ounces is a normal amount; 18 ounces is if you really like chocolate!)
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 375º F.
    2. In a stand mixer or large bowl using a hand blender, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar on medium-high speed for 4-5 minutes.
    3. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat another 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
    4. In a blender, blend the oats until it resembles a very coarse flour.
    5. Add oats to cookie dough and blend on low until just combined.
    6. Add flour and blend on low until just combined.
    7. Stir in chocolate.
    8. Form dough into balls (approximately 2 tablespoons per ball). Place on ungreased cookie sheet or cookie sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper (I use a Silpat). Press down gently on the dough balls to flatten them a bit. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until bottom edges are a golden brown.
    9. Dough balls may be frozen. Add a few minutes to cooking time if baking from frozen.

     


  9. Friday, October 20, 2017

    Show and Tell, Grab Bag Edition! Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer, Deodorant, Netflix Birthday Fun & Prius Envy

    Hello, friends. I have a veritable grab bag of things to share with you today, including a recipe, deodorant, Netflix and car talk. Yes, totally random. But also fun! 😉 Let’s start with the food!

    Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer Recipe from LAND O LAKES and @janemaynard

    Pumpkin Spice Butter Spread + Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

    Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer Recipe from LAND O LAKES and @janemaynard

    Last week LAND O LAKES treated me to a surprise package, complete with a shiny new Chemex coffee maker and everything I needed to make Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer using their Limited Batch Pumpkin Spice Butter Spread. We are loving the Pumpkin Spice Butter (seriously, I had to cut Cate off…she would have eaten a loaf’s-worth of toast just to consume the butter), so I felt like I needed to tell you about it! Plus, I did in fact make the Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer and it was delicious. I am now sharing the recipe with you!

    Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer Recipe from LAND O LAKES and @janemaynard

    Show and Tell, Grab Bag Edition! Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer, Deodorant, Netflix Birthday Fun & Car Envy
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • ½ cup half & half
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 2 teaspoons LAND O LAKES Pumpkin Pie Spice Butter Spread
    Instructions
    1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Microwave, stirring occasionally, 30-45 seconds or until butter spread is melted and sugar is dissolved.
    2. Beat with hand mixer for 90 seconds or until mixture is frothy. (Note: I whisked by hand.)
    3. Store in refrigerator in a container with a tight-fitting lid up to 1 week. Shake well before each use.

    Native Natural Deodorant

    Native Deodorant, my new favorite thing! from @janemaynard

    Years ago I wanted to switch to natural deodorant but had a bad experience (read: Hello, Stinky Lady!) and gave up. but the fact I’ve been smearing aluminum on my body every day for over 30 years has always nagged at me. Well, my sister-in-law Cora recently demanded that I try Native deodorant. She was insistent. She pretty much made me buy it. Well, I must admit that I am grateful Cora was so bossy! I LOVE NATIVE. So, so, so, so much. I have the Coconut & Vanilla, Coconut & Shea and Apricot & Peach scents and I love them all. Note: the scents are seasonal, so a few of those flavors aren’t currently available, but there are a bunch of new ones that sound great!

    Why do I love Native so much?

    • First and foremost, the deodorant actually works. I have less body odor than I did with anti-perspirant and my clothes are picking up less scents, too. Cora (and the website) said that I would need about 2 weeks for my body to adjust and for the deodorant to work well. I started using the deodorant during a heat wave and loved it from Day One. But please, if you try it, give it at least 2 weeks to kick in (in case you are not lucky like I was). Also, if you need to freshen up later in the day, just re-apply and magically things smell better.
    • Native’s customer service is amazing. AMAZING. I originally ordered the summer scent pack and did not like the floral scent that came with it. Native made an exchange beyond easy. Plus, even before needing customer service support, I loved their email communications. They do a great job every step of the way
    • I really like the scent options they have. The deodorant just plain smells good without being overpowering.
    • For those with baking soda allergy, they also have a sensitive version that does not contain baking soda.

    I must admit I thought it was a little funny how excited Cora was about her deodorant. I mean, how can someone be that happy about deodorant. But here I am. On the Native bandwagon and happy to be here. I’m in all the way! Thanks, Cora!

    Netflix Birthday Fun!

    New! Netflix Birthday Messages for Kids! from @janemaynard

    Did you hear about the new birthday messages for kids on Netflix? They launched the birthday messages just in time for Owen’s birthday last month and he loved them. Owen’s birthday party involved taking eight 5- and 6-year-old boys to the LEGO Ninjago movie, followed up with a dinosaur cake at the park. Having the LEGO Ninjago friends and the Dinotrux friends sending birthday wishes his way totally made Owen’s day!

    To find the messages, simply type “birthday” or “birthdays” into your Netflix search bar and all 15 birthday message video options will appear. Definitely a cute way to kick off your little one’s special day!

    Why I Wish We Weren’t So Frugal and Had Bought a New Prius

    2017 Toyota Prius Test Drive from @janemaynard

    Nate has been driving a Prius for over 3 years and has been very happy with it. When his lease was up this past spring, we decided to be frugal and buy the car he was driving rather than start a new lease with the latest Prius. I was perfectly happy with that decision until 3 months later when Toyota lent us a new 2017 Prius for our east coast trip. I love the new Prius. We shouldn’t have been so responsible after all! What were we thinking? 😉 I am grateful I had the chance to try the Prius out for a month (thanks, Toyota!), but now I totally have Prius envy. Here are a few of the things I loved about the car:

    • The car basically drives itself. The radar cruise control works beautifully. I used it ALL THE TIME. For example, when we drove from Cape Cod to New Hampshire, I followed my sister-in-law using cruise control. The system detects the speed of the car in front of you and adjusts accordingly, so Jess was basically doing all the driving. There is also a lane departure alert system, pre-collision and pedestrian detection system, and the car can park itself.
    • Even better gas mileage. I got over 50 miles per gallon the entire trip.
    • For such a small car, there  is a ton of storage. The back is roomy, and there is a net you can use to store smaller items. The storage was great for short and long trips alike.
    • I’ve mentioned this before about Toyota, but I love their remote lock system. It’s just awesome.
    • There was also a spot for doing that fancy cordless phone charging. My phone doesn’t have that capability, but I was sure wishing it did! I also like how the middle console is set up better in the new Prius versus previous models.
    • The navigation system worked better than my Google maps app on my phone. Impressive! And the car told me what the speed limit was at any given time, which is especially handy on those east coast back roads!
    • The one thing I did not love was the SofTex synthetic leather seat material. It is more eco-friendly than other synthetic leather materials and does not use any animal-based material, but if I had to choose I would go with fabric or real leather. I just didn’t love the feel of the seats or how they looked when inevitably sand and other stuff got into the seams.

    Phew! I think that’s all I have to share for today. As usual, Show & Tell is for the whole class! Feel free to chime in with your own finds and recent loves in the comments!

    Please note: I have a relationship with Netflix as a member of the Stream Team, which means they don’t pay me a dime but do send me cool fun stuff occasionally. Toyota provided me with the Prius for our trip. Land O Lakes provided me with product. I have no official relationship with Native deodorant.


  10. Thursday, October 5, 2017

    The Easiest Dinosaur Birthday Cake That Was Beyond Beloved

    Owen’s birthday was last week and I have yet to share his birthday cake with you all. I love making fun birthday cakes for my kids and my kids really look forward to planning out their cake each year. For his 6th birthday, Owen decided he wanted a dinosaur birthday party. He and I sat down and scrolled through Pinterest together to find the perfect dinosaur birthday cake. Owen picked out a few options, kept changing his mind about which cake he wanted, and then learned about chocolate candy that looks like rocks. Once he knew that candy existed he was hooked on making what turned out to be the easiest dinosaur birthday cake ever. Thanks, Owen!

    Easiest Dinosaur Birthday Cake from @janemaynard

    So, how do you make the easiest dinosaur birthday cake ever?

    1. Make a 2-layer round cake. Frost with chocolate frosting. Be generous with the frosting, especially on the top as those dinosaurs need a nice layer of mud to sink their feet into so they can stay standing!
    2. Buy chocolate candy that looks like rocks/pebbles. (I found the candy at Cost Plus World Market. They have pebble candy on Amazon, too, although the candy at Cost Plus were cuter and cheaper.)
    3. Place said candy on top of the cake.
    4. Pick out 3 of your child’s toy dinosaurs, stick them on top of the cake. (Dinosaurs should be relatively small – the big ones tip over.)
    5. YOU ARE DONE. You’re welcome.

    Easiest Dinosaur Birthday Cake from @janemaynard

    I used Matthew Mead’s chocolate cake recipe, which you can find at the end of this blog post. I made a chocolate buttercream frosting for the outside of the cake – recipe below!

    Click here for the the inspiration for this cake!

    Click here for the other easy dinosaur birthday cake idea (hello, cutest fossils ever) that I was totally trying to get Owen to choose. I had him convinced for about 2 hours, but then that rock candy ruined everything. Except it didn’t because Owen’s cake was super awesome.

    Easiest Dinosaur Birthday Cake from @janemaynardThat’s Owen’s “I knew the rock candy cake would be as cute as the fossil cake, Mom” face.

    Here is how I made the chocolate buttercream frosting. Once again, people who usually do not like cake loved my cake. These recipes are winners. Also, use HIGH QUALITY cocoa powder. I’m telling you it makes a difference. Promise.

    Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) salted butter, room temperature
    • ⅔ cups cocoa powder
    • 6-7 cups powdered sugar
    • 6-8 tablespoons milk or cream
    Instructions
    1. Beat butter with a mixer (I use my KitchenAid with the paddle attachment).
    2. Using a fine mesh sieve, add the cocoa powder to the butter. (The sieve prevents the cocoa from getting lumpy.)
    3. Gradually work in the powdered sugar, alternating with the milk/cream and beating well after each addition. I put a range for the powdered sugar and milk/cream measurements. Start with 6 cups and 6 tablespoons each, then add more powdered sugar if the frosting is too thin, or more milk/cream if it is too thick. Frosting should be a spreading consistency that still holds its shape.
    Notes
    This makes enough frosting for a 2-layer 8- or 9-inch cake, with a little leftover.